These Students Prove You Can Make a Difference at Any Age
Justin Ramirez and Annika Allado, Energizing Engineers
At 17 and 16 years old, Justin Ramirez and Annika Allado are the President and Vice President of Energizing Engineers, an organization that conducts workshops at underprivileged schools, teaching simple engineering concepts by demonstrating fun experiments. "We focus on four disciplines of engineering: civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical," Annika says. "We try to make our lessons as exciting for the children as possible. In chemistry, for example, we make slime with the kids, to teach them about molecules and bonding."
As President, Justin conceptualizes new ways to teach kids about engineering. Since inheriting the organization from the founder, who has since left for college abroad, Justin has added more interactive activities in order to best engage the kids. Along with a team consisting of one other student from Ateneo High School and two from International School Manila, Justin and Annika go to public schools in the provinces, sometimes missing a day or two of their own classes, to execute their lesson plans and inspire the kids.
"My passion for science grew from doing fun educational activities as a child, like making glowsticks," Justin says. "I want the kids, who don't have the resources to do these activities, to experience the same wonder and awe that I did. Our mission is to show kids that engineering can be fun, and hopefully, inspire them to pursue careers in engineering. We need good engineers to solve the big problems in our country."
To learn more about Energizing Engineers, visit their website here.
Andrea Lee, Right Start
Over the summer, 16-year-old Andrea Lee volunteered at an NGO called Right Start, a community-focused center in West Crame dedicated to providing a "creative caring space" for the public school children in the area. The center caters to hundreds of children every day, offering various lessons, a weekly worship service, and special workshops led by volunteers, such as Andrea, who teach what they are passionate about. Having been involved in theater at her school, Andrea independently created a drama workshop which culminated in a short film, wholly written and acted by the children.
"Right Start allowed me to build a workshop centered around acting and theater so the kids would have the opportunity to experience something they had never done before," Andrea says. "Through drama and theater, you gain confidence, improve your speaking skills, and learn to empathize with other people and their situations."
When Andrea and the kids gathered on the final day to watch the film, they stunned even themselves. "It was made using iMovie, a selfie stick, and a cellphone—yet it felt like we were all watching a Hollywood premiere," Andrea says.
"Though my summer workshop is
Andrea is currently working on creating a curriculum for her next workshop, this one to be centered around creative writing, another subject close to her heart.
"I have a lot of exciting things planned!" Andrea exclaims. "I can't wait to share them with the kids soon."
To learn more about Right Start, visit their website here.
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Outdoors Danielle Flestado @artdkf | May 1, 2020 "I miss the outside world. The last time I went outside of our house was on my birthday. We just bought coffee across our village and went back home immediately. This painting made me feel that I'm in a field, just appreciating the beauty of God's creation. Can you imagine the green grass and pink flowers?"
When everything around you suddenly turns dark, the first thing we'd prolly do, as humans, is to find and grab anything that is closest and nearest to us. We'll hold onto them for as long as we can, trying to collect ourselves and gather courage to adjust our eyesights to the pitch black environment that's consuming us minute by minute. And then you'd hear nothing. Your sense of hearing would somehow go off after not seeing anything for quite awhile. You'll let loose. Cry. Panic. You'll be exhausted for fighting your way out. Then just when you're about to stop and give up, you're no longer afraid. There's only this deafening silence and pithole of darkness that's gonna eat you up alive. And surprisingly, you'll make a home out of it.
You'll make a home out of the darkness that when a ray of light suddenly hits you, you'll try to avoid it. You'll try to cover your eyes. You'll try to cover your ears from the voices trying to help you get out of it. You'll try to hide because your mind and body will go against your will to come out and live. Because the darkness that used to scare you, now comforts you in a way you thought has helped you survived life. And you'll try to live. Day by day. In the darkness. Not knowing where to go. Not knowing where to start. Not knowing who is with you. You will try to live until the darkness that once surrounds you is now within you. And everyday, it's gonna be a cycle of subtle torture. But let me tell you a secret. The darkness won't make you whole.
You'll be broken. And in those hair-like cracks, the light will stubbornly fight its way through until it warms you up. Until you realize to check the switch and turn it on. Until you allow other people to help you find your way back in the light. Until you realize you're ready to live in light again. There's a light at the end of this long and dreading tunnel. The only question that matters: will you let them in?
I always thought of life, like a bead where each piece makes it worth sewing together with other piece of beads to make a stronger bond and to create a beautiful result. Today, how do we bond well with different people especially this difficult time? As this day challenges us to a new normal, may we continue to bead along positively with our life.